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The BoldHeartMama desires to enjoy living out the choices that she’s made for herself and for her family. She is a relentless learner: curious, inquisitive, and open to the possibilities of her life and of the human condition. She understands that there isn't one right way—she asks questions that dig deeper to make sense of it all and to find her own path.

She pays attention to and nurtures whatever it is she really cares about, letting go of the rest (for now) knowing she can't do and be everything all at once. She embraces her imperfections in favor of "good enough"—her imperfect self, her imperfect home, her imperfect mothering, her imperfect desires—and she never stops evolving as a woman and mother. She is a BoldHeart, authentic and true to herself.

The BoldHeartMama knows there is only this one life and she's all in. She is present and engaged and making things happen. Her intuition is her guide. She seeks to be inspired and relies on her creativity and her resourcefulness to solve the big and little challenges that she and her family face together as they navigate their relationships and their world.

The BoldHeartMama is willing to take calculated risks to make her biggest dreams come true. She is living out her BoldHeart in the moment, making small moves and taking little steps that add up, and she's cultivating a good life for herself and her family in the process. Read More!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Another Year at Home

After a lot of thought and some strategy talk, we've decided not to enroll Roscoe in preschool for the upcoming school year.

We learned through our 6 week experience at Waldorf that Roscoe may not be ready to assimilate just yet.  He was in almost constant conflict with one child or another, and while a number of variables were at play (such a small room, and so many momma/toddler pairs--it was a challenge not to come in physical contact with someone at some point; all the kids were so hovered over by their parents that the true kid-kid dynamic was hard to come by; class time fell right in the middle of Roscoe's nap-time; etc.) Roscoe just didn't seem to enjoy it very much.

We looked into some other attractive options in the area but found that by January/February, when we were feeling serious about applying, it was too late for most of the programs.  Open houses had passed, deadlines were looming large or else we had already missed them.  One school had a wait-list that had been started all the way back in October! New to the area we were definitely behind the preschool admissions curve.

I was temporarily devastated that Roscoe would be home all year, and that he would not get to experience some of the amazing opportunities afforded by these great programs. I was also distracted by the fact that his not going to preschool meant that I wouldn't have any breaks built in to the week for myself or for my work.

Subtracting the 6 months of maternity leave that I took when Merritt was born, I've been working at least part-time since Roscoe was 4 months old. I've grown to depend on my scheduled work-time as an opportunity to think non-child related thoughts and to feel like a professional, contributing my brain power to something outside my home and beyond our intimate bubble of family life.

I'll be honest, it's a break for me too, from the unforgiving demands of parenting.

So I had a discussion with our Nanny, who currently cares for the kids on the two days that I work each week, and she agreed to stay with us for at least another year.

Problemo solved.

I'm working through the end of May, and then I will move on from what has become a pretty sweet DC gig to spend two months prepping lesson plans and organizing the business-end of my soon-to-kick-off adventures in birth education. August will be the start of my first class.  I'm a little giddy and slightly nervous.  But I know I will love it and there is no doubt that I am looking to spend more time with the things that I love.

Maybe what I'm about to say next only speaks to my own prejudices, but I struggled for several weeks with the voice in my head that undermines my professional work and my dedication to the kids as their mother.

Spoiled. 
Greedy. 
Selfish. 

To have someone regularly watch the kids so that I can make my need for content, time, and space a priority, especially when I'm not even working, seems indulgent.  That last part, about "not even working" won't be so hard to overcome once I get started with my new venture but for now, the idea of immersing myself in the work of empowering families through birth education sounds like a dream, not a job.

Andy snapped me out of my negative self-talk and stifled my hesitation when he pointed out that, "Just because you're a mother doesn't mean that you have to devote every waking minute of every day to the kids or to me.  You deserve to have time to yourself.  Don't feel bad."

It's true, he's right. I feel supported now and worthy of this decision.

Next Fall we'll be at the ready with front row seats to open house night, our pre-filled applications in-hand. But this year, I'm looking forward to the luxury of following my heart into the birthing community, taking care of myself, and enjoying my boys and the life that we're building here.

Having someone to care for the kids for a few blocks of time every week will afford me the opportunity to work in peace, to have an extra hand, to get out on my own regularly, and to integrate more quality one-on-one time with each of the boys (I'm hoping to add afternoon dates to our routine).  Then, instead of feeling stressed in the evenings, to pack into 2 hours all the things that I didn't get around to doing during the day, I see them being open for Andy and I to reconnect.

As always, a happy momma makes a happy family.

6 comments :

  1. Hmmm...this is a very interesting discussion point. Lilah goes to daycare 3 mornings a week (4 hours each day) and I send Adelle one morning a week with Lilah. I know you weren't talking about anyone but yourself and I certainly didn't feel targeted, but for discussions sake I'll give you my thoughts on the matter. I see how I could be perceived spoiled, greedy or selfish, but to be totally honest, I don't think I am (well, maybe spoiled a little bit). Feel free to disagree. I feel very FORTUNATE to have the opportunity and ability to send my children to daycare despite the fact that I am not working, for both their benefit and my own. Lilah used to go to daycare 2 days a week while I was working. When I decided to stay home, it seemed unfair to her to take her away from a place that she enjoyed so much. She has friends there and she learns a ton. Every day she asks if she is going to school. More so, I love that it provides her the opportunity to be taken care of by someone other than Mommy all the time. I think it's good for her to learn some "independence." She isn't great in large group settings and can get very clingy, so I think it is great that we have found a place where she is comfortable, especially without Mommy. This winter we switched her from 2 longer days to 3 shorter days because she enjoys going so much.
    I send Adelle because it allows me 4 hours out of the week to do stuff without any kids...run errands, do stuff around the house, and, yes, sometimes I treat myself to a pedicure or massage. But as she has gotten older, she really enjoys the socialization. We plan on sending her 2 mornings a week come the fall for the same reasons we send Lilah now...socialization and time for her to play/learn without Mommy by her side.
    We don't have family that live close to us, so I feel so so fortunate to have someone I trust and feel comfortable with watch our children.
    I guess I feel a little wasteful sometimes since we are paying for childcare when I'm not making any money, but to me, the benefits outweigh the cost. I think giving myself some time each week to focus on something other than the kids 24/7 keeps me energized and excited about the time I am WITH my kids the rest of the week. I really do miss them when they are at school and I love picking them up!
    You shouldn't feel guilty about having extra help with childcare..."it takes a village," right? We just don't live in villages anymore ;) You are very very lucky to have a husband who values you and what you do for your family. He is a good man for understanding that Mom's need a "lunch break" too ;)
    And like you said, a happy momma makes for a happy family!
    I don't know, maybe others do view me as greedy or selfish, but I really do it more for my kids than for me.
    On a side not, isn't it crazy how far in advance we have to enroll our kids in preschool these days? Lilah's PreK program for the fall was full within 24 hours of opening enrollment in JANUARY! Ridiculous, really.

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  2. Mama Tully:
    No, you get my point exactly. I don't think we're greedy, selfish, or spoiled. I see the opportunity to be home with the kids AND pursuing the things in life that I value and that make me feel like a whole person as a luxury, perhaps, but critical to my health and beneficial for all.

    Greedy, selfish, and spoiled. Those thoughts have everything to do with my own insecurities, and were not intended in any way to reflect negatively on the choices that anyone else makes for their own family.

    One piece of this is that while I will technically be bringing in income (a tiny amount!) I am starting out teaching only one class a week for two hours...so, not really working that much. Prep time will be considerable in the first six months but this has largely been an exercise for me to think of teaching like this on the side as legitimate work, when I would happily volunteer and do it for free (as I have done similarly in the past).

    The other piece is that I'm just really hard on myself as a mother and I've been in need of someone else's wisdom to snap me out of some unsustainable and unhealthy behaviors like pushing myself to the brink in pursuit of trying to do everything on my own, and ultimately leaving little to nothing for myself at the end of the day.

    I absolutely agree with what Andy said, and I'm grateful that he cared enough to tell me that I sounded ridiculous. I heard what he said as the words came out, and they rang true for me in a way that they might not have three years ago, or one year ago, even. If I didn't know what I know now (in this moment of my life), I might not have quite understood exactly what he meant or interpreted it the way that I did.

    My perspective on a lot of things has changed in the last three years, and learning to be more forgiving toward myself is something that I'll have to keep working on. I read an article somewhere recently about how parenting is therapy, and I think that statement is a certain truth.

    It's all in the reframe, I think--it's not the mom sitting at home doing nothing or pampering herself silly while she shoves off her parental responsibilities to someone else, but instead a mom who first takes care of herself (whether that's work she loves, or pedicures, or exercise, or sewing, or whatever) so that she can take care of her family in the ways that they absolutely deserve.

    I wish for every mom more self-love (I especially wish this for myself!). And for the larger community of moms, more empathy and compassion toward each other as we move through this phase of our lives--it is certainly harder that I ever thought it would be.

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  3. Dear Jacqueline and Andy, I'm proud of you every day.Love, MOM

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  4. I agree wholeheartedly with Mama Tully. You completely deserve a little time to yourself and that does not make you spoiled, greedy or selfish. In fact, I think for myself, that I am a better mom when I get these little breaks. I struggle so much with this on my days off - I feel like I should cherish each moment and spend every waking moment with Allie, denying my biggest pleasure of going to work out. But, when I relax and realize that my hour at the gym isn't really harming her in any way and that I'm so much more focused and centered after that time, I realize that I need that little outlet to myself and believe it makes me a better mom in the end. I think we're wired to feel that way, that to be "good moms" we have to enjoy and want to be with our kids every waking moment and that's just not physically or mentally possible. We need time for ourselves and thinking that isn't selfish or greedy at all. Good for you pursuing something you're passionate about. Your kids will remember that when they're older - that their mom was a strong person who went after what she wanted/believed in :)

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  5. I'm reminded of the family plan & how you put - Ask for what you need. I am literally never away from my kids & - as a result - completely drained (not good). The entire family benefits from balance. Your opportunity sounds marvelous ... & your boys are in the midst of an amazing female role model

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